Former Rockets star Tracy McGrady continued his push to make a comeback as a professional baseball player this week. McGrady held a public workout with the Sugar Land Skeeters at Constellation Field. Dressed in a Skeeters hat and shirt with white basketball shorts, McGrady threw several pitches from the mound to catcher Koby Clemens. McGrady has been practicing for three months now in an effort to earn a contract with the Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League. "I've just got to go out and put forth my best effort," he told a group of media gathered for the workout. "Obviously (the Skeeters) know I have a great passion for the game, I think they're pleased so far with where I'm at in my progress."
McGrady, who played baseball as a youngster up through high school, has a fastball that tops out in the mid-80s right now, along with a splitter, changeup and slider. He is working on improving his velocity and control, and even getting help and advice from Koby Clemens' dad, seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens. McGrady says he's learning from Clemens' consistency in his mechanics and preparation. He could also learn about comebacks from "Rocket Roger." Clemens made his own comeback with the Skeeters for one game back in 2012.
Trying to make a minor league baseball roster is a big adjustment for a former NBA superstar who played 15 years in the league, but McGrady is staying humble. "It's the independent leagues, I'm not signing some multi-million dollar contract that I'm used to signing, so this is all for the love of the game," he says. "Just like all the other guys coming in here, I've gotta make the club...but I'm gonna give it a shot." A man who has already made millions and played at the highest level of pro sports is now back to being like a kid with a dream. "Even if I just go out there and pitch one inning for the whole season, this is a dream that has come true for me," says McGrady.